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Chapter 1

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Psychology 2040A/B
Jackie Sullivan

Chapter One: History, Theory & Applied Directions Intro: - Talks about one’s perception of their childhood when they went back to their hometown o ex. Buildings are much smaller than you perceived them to be when you were younger - Also, where are the people you grew up with now? – what have they achieved? - What features make us similar and what features make us unique? - Some people change overtime while others don’t - There has also been many cultural changes throughout history (employed mothers, childcare) o All of these questions can be addressed by child development: an area of study devoted to understanding constancy and change from conception through adolescence o Child development is part of a larger field known as developmental science: includes all changes we experience throughout the lifespan The Field of Child Development - This type of research has been influenced by scientific curiosity and by social pressures - All this C.D info is interdisciplinary: it has grown through combined efforts of people in many fields Domains of Development - Divided into 3 broad domains - These domains are not distinct, they overlap & interact 1. Physical Development - changes in body size, proportions, appearance, functioning of body systems, perceptual motor capacities & physical health 2. Cognitive Development - changes in intellectual abilities, including attention, memory, academic & everyday knowledge, problem solving, imagination, creativity & language 3. Emotional & Social Development - changes in emotional communication, self-understanding, knowledge about other people, interpersonal skills, friendships, intimate relationships & moral reasoning/behaviour Periods of Development - Divided into 5 periods - The flow of time into sensible & manageable parts 1. The Prenatal Period o from conception to birth o 9-month period o most rapid time of change o 1-celled organism  human baby 2. Infancy & Toddlerhood o birth to 2 years (1 year = infancy, 2year = toddlerhood) o changes in body & brain that support motor, perceptual & intellectual capacities (first steps- shift to autonomy) o beginning of language o first intimate ties to others 3. Early Childhood o 2 to 6 years o body longer & leaner o motor skills refined o more self-controlled & self-sufficient o make-believe play blossoms, supporting psychological development o thought & language expands o sense of morality o establish ties with peers 4. Middle Childhood o 6 to 11 years o learn about wider world & master new responsibilities that resemble those they will perform as adults o improved athletic abilities (organized games with rules) o more logical thought processes o mastery of fundamental skills (writing, reading, math, academic knowledge & skills) o advances understanding of self, morality & friendship 5. Adolescence o 11 to 18 years o initiates transition to adulthood o puberty: adult-sized body & sexual maturity o thought becomes abstract & idealistic o schooling directed for higher education & world of work o begin to establish autonomy from family & define personal goals/values  For many contemporary youths in industrialized nations, transition to adult roles has become more prolonged – thus, some researchers have posited a new period of development (emerging adulthood) – 18 to 25 years Basic Issues - Theory: an orderly, integrated set of statements (describes, explains & predicts behaviour) - 2 reasons for theories o provides a framework o serve as a basis for practical action - Theory’s existence is depends on scientific verification - Many theories in child development – no one agrees - Organize these theories by looking at 3 basic issues o 1. Is the course of development continuous or discontinuous? o 2. Does one course of development characterize all children, or are there many possible courses? o 3. What are the roles of genetic & environmental factors (nature or nurture)? Continuous or Discontinuous Development? - How can we distinguish between the development of small infants, young children, adolescents & adults? - 2 possibilities o infants & preschoolers respond to the world in much the same as adults do, the difference between being mature & immature is the amount or complexity  thus, making development continuous: a process of gradually adding more of the same types of skills that were there to begin o infants thoughts, emotions & behaviours differ greatly from adults  thus, making development discontinuous: a process in which new ways of understanding & responding to the world emerge at specific times  theories that accept the discontinuous process, believe development takes place in stages: qualitative changes in thinking, feeling & behaving that characterize specific periods of development  concepts assumes that change is rapid and children transform one stage to the next One Course of Development or Many? - “Stage” theorists believe that people everywhere follow the same sequence of development - But now we know that children grow up in distinct contexts: unique combinations of personal & environmental circumstances that can result in different paths of change - “Contemporary” theorists regard the contexts that mold development as complex (personal & environmental sides) Nature vs. Nurture? - Are genetic or environmental factors more important in development? - Nature: heredity & biological - Nurture: physical & social world - Some theorists emphasize stability: that children who are high or low in a characteristic will remain so later in life (nature) - Others see development having plasticity through life- as open to change in response to influential experiences (nurture) A Balanced Point of View - Are going away from the extreme theories and integrating them o ex. Some believe that both continuous & discontinuous changes occur in development Resilient Children (story) - How some children can beat the odds and become successful even after growing up in a bad environment - 4 broad factors which can help these children o Personal Characteristics o A Warm Parental Relationship o Social Support Outside Immediate Family o Community Resources & Opportunities Historical Foundations - Contemporary theories of child development are the result of centuries of change in Western cultural values, philosophical thinking & scientific process - To understand, must start at the beginning Medieval Times - Considered children to be vulnerable beings - But some religious writings showed children being possessed by the devil & that purification was needed, and at other times they were portrayed as innocent & close to angels The Reformation - Puritan belief that children were born evil & must be civilized (harsh restrictive punishments) - Later on, still thought their soul was tainted by taught children to tell right from wrong instead of harsh punishments - They gradually developed a balance between severity & permissiveness Philosophies of Enlightenment John Locke - Viewed children as a tabula tasa (blank slate), children shaped by experiences - Rewarded with praise & appraisal instead of treats & opposed physical punishment - Regarded development as continuous adult-like behaviours were gradually built through warm & consistent teaching (nurture) - Many courses of development & high plasticity at later ages due to new experiences Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Thought children were noble savages, naturally endowed with a sense of right & wrong and innate plan for orderly, healthy growth - Opposite to Locke, thought children were born with moral sense & did not need to be taught by adults - Thought they went through 4 stages (infancy, childhood, late childhood & adolescence) - Includes two influential concepts o Concept “stage” (discussed earlier) o Concept “maturation”- refers to genetically determined, naturally unfolding course of growth - Viewed development as a discontinuous process that follows a single course mapped out by nature Scientific Beginnings Darwin: Forefather of Scientific Child Study - Constructed the Theory of Evolution & was a naturalist after Rousseau o Natural selection & survival of the fittest - Discovered that prenatal growth is similar in many species The Normative Period - Stanley Hall & Arnold Gesell developed theories based on evolutionary ideas - Regarded development as a maturational process: a genetically determined series of events that unfold automatically, much like a flower (nature based argument) – same as Rousseau & Darwin - Hall & Gesell launched a normative approach- in which measures of behavior are taken on large numbers of individuals & age-related averages are computed to represent typical development The Mental Testing Movement - Binet from France also taking a normative approach, but for different reasons – to identify learning problems in children - Binet began with well-developed theory of intelligence - Created a age-graded test for children (Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale) James Mark Baldwin: Early Developmental Theorist - Believed that children’s understanding for their physical & social worlds develops through a sequence of stages, beginning with the simplest behaviour patterns of a newborn infant - In his view, neither the child nor the environment controlled development (thought nature & nurture had equal importance) Mid-Twentieth-Century Theories - When child development became legitimate The Psychoanalytic Perspective - By 1930s-40s, parents were seeking help in dealing with children’s emotional difficulties - New emerging approach to personality development that emphasized the unique history of each child - Psychoanalytic Perspective: children move through a series of stages in which they confront conflicts between biological drives & social expectations. How these conflicts are resolved determines the person’s ability to learn, to get along with others & to cope with anxiety Freud’s Theory - Sought to cure emotionally troubled adults by having them talk freely about painful childhood events - Examined unconscious motivations & constructed his psychosexual theory, which emphasizes how parents manage their child’s sexual & aggressive drives in the first few years is crucial for healthy personality development o 3 parts of personality (id, ego, superego become integrated during a sequence of 5 stages)  ID: largest portion of the mind, basic biological needs & desires  EGO: conscious, rational par of personality, emerges in early infancy & redirects id impulses  SUPEREGO: develops through interactions with parents, who insist children conform to society’s values o Ex. Superego warns that the id’s behaviour is wrong & ego mediates between these 2 forces (inner struggle) - Childhood sexual impulses shift from their focus from oral to anal - Parents need to give child an appropriate balance between gratification for the child to grow into a well-adjusted adult - Freud stressed early parent-child relationship - Flaws: o Overemphasized influence of sexual feelings in development o Because it was based on problems of sexually repressed adults in Victorian societies, can’t relate to other cultures o Plus, he never studied children directly Erikson’s Theory - His psychosocial theory emphasized the in addition to mediating between id impulses & superego demands, he ego makes a positive contribution to development, acquiring attitudes & skills that make the individual an active, contributing member of society - Erikson’s first 5 stages parallel to Freud’s, but he added 3 adult stages - Unlike Freud, Erikson pointed out that normal development must be understood in relation to each culture’s life situation * refer to page 16 to see the comparison between Freud’s & Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages Contributions & Limitation of Psychoanalytic Perspective - Strengths o Emphasis on unique life history as a worthy study & understanding o Theorists accept clinical or case study methods o Inspired wealth of research on aspects like emotional & social development - Weaknesses o No longer in the mainstream of child development research o Theorists became more isolated from other fields, failed to consider other methods o Theories are too vague to be tested Behaviourism & Social Learning Theory - Behaviourism: directly observable events- stimuli & responses- are the appropriate focus of study - Began with John Watson Traditional Behaviourism - Watson studied animals (inspired by Pavlov) - Ex. Dog salvation from stimulus (bell) related to food = classical conditioning - Taught Albert to fear white rat by pairing it with loud noises - Viewed development as a continuous process - Another form of behaviourism = operant conditioning theory o According to Skinner, the frequency of a behaviour can be increased by following it with a wide variety of reinforcers or can be decreased through punishment Social Learning Theory - Several theories emerged about conditioning - Most influential was Bandura, emphasized modeling as a powerful source of development o
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